Day 55 – Places to go

Since we’re still not allowed out (much), I’ve had a quick scoot around some places you can go on the internet.

First off, I watched the Headstock stream marking the 40th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis (I mentioned it here). UWS have posted the video on Youtube.
I highly recommend it, but if you only have a few minutes, then Kodaline (@1:14:35) and and Elbow (@1:50:26) were particular highlights. Also, some great interviews with Steven Morris and Bernard Sumner. Sadly, there were technical issues with the choir version of Love Will Tear Us Apart as the finale, which was rather disappointing and frustrating.

Next up, remember when I accidentally drove through the Addo National Park?

I knew you would.

SANParks have a live streaming camera set up on one of the waterholes there, so you can live vicariously through their lens.

It is live and wholly unedited, so you might not see anything when you click through, but we spotted warthogs and an elephant there yesterday.

And if the Eastern Cape isn’t your thing, you can find other SANParks cameras here.

Or, go and read this piece on why Cape Town has 10% of the the cases of Covid-19 on the whole African continent. (Can/could any other city claim a similar honour, worldwide?)

They mention tourism and three “super-spreader” events in their analysis, but the tourism thing wouldn’t have resulted in such a late surge of cases (from early May), given that there were no flights into CPT for 6 weeks before the graphs started to look quite so scary. In addition, my contacts at the local NHLS labs say they are only aware of one of the three “hotspots” mentioned in the article, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

Our kids are meant to be going back to school from the start of June, but the messages are all horribly mixed-up. By that point, the situation in Cape Town will be worse than at any point so far, we will still only be allowed out for 3 hours exercise each morning, and for essential shopping. We won’t be allowed out in open spaces like on beaches or the local National Park. The 8pm-5am curfew will still be in force.

But our kids will be ok to sit next to each other and in front of several teachers for 5 hours each day at school?

How does that even begin to make sense?

If we’re meant to try to avoid contracting the virus – for our own safety and for the good of the healthcare systems – then lock us all down. Don’t sent the kids out to catch it and bring it back into our homes. And yes, I know that stats about kids getting it less and spreading it less. And that’s great. But books, pens, folders, bags etc…
And less isn’t zero. Kids staying at home can’t spread what they don’t have.

But if you should have a health problem that puts you into a high risk category for Covid-19, the Department of Basic Education shares this little gem:

“Parents with chronic conditions are encouraged to not come into close contact with their kids that are attending school.”

Right. Easy and straightforward.

The piecemeal approach that’s currently being vaunted is ridiculous and contradictory. Either lift the lockdown (which clearly isn’t working here at the moment anyway) and send the kids to school, or keep everyone home.

It’s the dichotomy that pisses me off.

And what about teachers who fall into high risk categories?
Eish, don’t get me re-started.

I appeared to have digressed a bit. Sorry.

Right. One more idea: go and do a virtual tour of a famous museum or gallery and learn about some paintings. I wandered around the Eiffel Tower yesterday. Great views. Very quiet.

Day 54 – Planet Parade

Let’s not mention the V-word today.

Instead: how about this? I spotted this on Twitter earlier and got in touch with amateur astronomer Grant Petersen to ask if I could share the image on here.

He said yes, and so… well… here is that image:

Amazing.

These were taken using a Celestron Nexstar 8″ SCT with a focal length of 2032mm and a focal ratio of F/10, and an Orion USB camera II.
And then arranged on a smartphone.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

I am blown away by this image (hence my asking if I could put it on here), but if there is one minor (hopefully constructive) criticism I might make, it’s that there is no image of Earth. And that really should surely be one of the easiest ones to get.
I’ve got several myself. And they are lot closer up than these.

Of course, ironically, getting a shot of Earth in the same vein as these images is a great deal more difficult than even shooting Neptune, which despite being quite a large planet…

…is also a ridiculous 4.5 billion kilometres away.

 

Photo credit: Grant Petersen

Day 53, part 2 – we’ve all done it

I mean… these things happen every day, right?

Oops.

Ironically, real fans were the ones who did realise something was wrong, bombarding FC Seoul’s official Instagram account as they watched the game on television.

“Just look at their breasts, they were four times bigger than those of normal mannequins,” one supporter wrote.

Ugh. Body-shaming mannequins now, are we? And how bad must the game have been for you to be repeatedly rewinding to check the size of the bazoomas on the lady in (appropriately enough) Row DD?

I’m still a long way from being convinced that there is a need or justification for bringing football back this season, but this sort of thing is swinging my mind to it being actually quite a good idea. Yes, more of this, please.

Absolutely fantastic.

Day 52 – It’s coming

The [excrement] is about to strike the [ventilation device].

I’ve mentioned here and here that things aren’t going very well as far as the coronavirus situation in South Africa is concerned.

But we’re now getting to the point where the calm before the storm has been fully exhausted and we’re at the start of the rough ride. We may unknowingly already be there: the data we (as the public) are seeing are probably a week out of date.

In parts of the Western Cape (and a few other select locations) the infection rate is completely out of control and my inside informants are informing me that testing isn’t being done quickly enough and that hospitals are filling up fast.

This is when the storm hits. So far, the health systems, though often creaky and held together with duct tape and goodwill, have managed to cope with the demand. That will soon end now, with both Covid-19 patients and routine medical emergencies unable to be treated as hospitals and healthcare facilities simply run out of capacity. The inevitable result is, sadly, more deaths.

And yet, people are still exercising here every morning without wearing masks, they’re going around to friends’ houses, sharing alcohol and generally ignoring all the rules. The fact that there’s a curfew even came as a surprise to one lady on the local whatsapp group this morning.

Incredible.

Like they’re magically immune or something. People just don’t understand.
People are going to understand quite soon, though.

An example: one (educated) individual I follow on social media said that she thinks she “has a cold or flu coming on”.
The next thing she shares is a photo of her out and about walking (completely legally), but…

Just no. If you are sick – stay home. Simple as.

Sure, your mask might limit the spread of the virus and (in all honesty) the chances of infecting people out in the open air are fairly small anyway. But why not simply reduce that possibility to zero by just staying in bed?

Maybe it is just a cold. But how did you pick up that cold virus if you have been taking sensible, anti-coronavirus precautions? Because what protects you against Covid-19 will also work against the common cold.

So if you have managed to pick up a cold (and sure, we all hope that’s all it is), there’s a warning right there, that you’re not doing enough handwashing and social distancing.

I was described yesterday as “a ray of sunshine”. I think (ok, I know) they were being sarcastic, and I really don’t want to get a reputation for being a misery and sharing bad news on here, but I’m still astounded that people aren’t taking this situation seriously.

That’s going to change real soon.

 

UPDATE: as if by magic, via twitter, here’s the perfect example:

That’s the [flipping] President in the light blue cap and there are some (oddly) sycophantic citizens passing him on his walk this morning. You will see numerous incursions into personal space, a complete lack of social distancing, and a cellphone being passed from hand to hand.

Like that’s in any way ok.

Wow.

Day 51 – here comes the weekend

It’s day 51, it’s Saturday and Mrs 6000 is more locked-down than ever, with back to back work-related Zoom calls for the entire weekend. Such a pity, when we had such wide-ranging plans for the family.

I’m left to my own devices.

I hosted a quiz last night, and I’m busy writing another one which I plan to host  tomorrow evening – I’m going international with this one.
The kids are amusing themselves with rebuilding society on Minecraft, and I have provided the beagle with a large bone, so I won’t need to do much else there for the rest of the day.

I finally started my sourdough starter today. I’m hoping that it’s the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship. I’ll keep you updated. I know you’ll be anxious to follow the story.

It’s technical, high-end stuff, with the website recipe I’m following suggesting that I “use kitchen scales” to weigh the ingredients, and “a thermometer” to check the room temperature.

Wild.